Responding well to feedback at work
WITH KIM RIPLEY
MPS, SHRM-CP, HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER AT SHRIMP IMPROVEMENT SYSTEMS HAWAII LLC; AND SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT HAWAII CHAPTER VOLUNTEER
Many career coaches advise people not to take business too personally, while others believe the opposite and counsel future leaders to be sensitive to criticism so that they can learn and grow from experiences — especially difficult ones. The truth is, both schools of thought have some truth in them.
So when it comes to balancing the two ideas, keep the following in mind for both self-prosperity and in being an efficient leader for others.
Q: When is it okay to take things personally?
A: Caring deeply about a problem, issue or task causes engagement. Being engaged means that you have a personal connection. It is nearly impossible not to take something personal when you feel passionate about an issue. The key is to find balance in the opportunities that your passion brings and the strategy that guides your words and actions.
Q: What does it mean to take things “too personally?”
A: In your professional life, taking something too personally means that you may be taking a comment about your work and translating it into a reflection on your values or your value as a person. This is where emotional intelligence comes in. Whatever the intentions of the person conveying the feedback to you, try to sift through the information to find the opportunities that you can use to grow and still develop and maintain positive relationships with your colleagues.
Q: How can I take things less personally if they aren’t intended to be personal?
A: Always assume that people’s intentions are good. Take a few seconds, minutes or even a day before responding. Practice empathy. Keep a healthy balance of work and non-work. Take care of yourself through healthy eating and getting enough rest and exercise. It’s normal to occasionally get your feelings hurt, but if you are regularly feeling personally attacked, it may be time to consider if your current job is right for you, or whether a counselor may be of help to you in dealing with interpersonal relationships.